In the News from Panama

Foreign Minister Lays Out Case for Panama Business

In an article that was widely circulated in Asia, new foreign minister Erika Mouynes made a strong case for why Panama will be the center for investment and growth in the years ahead.

Mouynes, who took office in December, focused on the “tremendous progress” Panama has made in developing its financial infrastructure. “Over the past five years, Panama has completely restructured the country’s legal framework and collaborated closely” to remove many of the misconceptions about the country’s financial system, she writes, making the case that it is time for the international community to “turn the page” on financial stories that no longer apply to Panama.

More than anything, she made the case for the Panama success story, and it’s dramatic when you see all the numbers presented and the positive catalysts available. In many ways, you can tell the foreign minister is talking to the investment community, letting them see that modern Panama is transparent and ready for more business.

Panama has been successful in mitigating the financial impact of the pandemic, Mouynes notes. As an example, she pointed to a recent effort by the Panama National bank to issue a 10-year bond for $1 billion, which was oversubscribed by more than $5 billion.

“This demand further solidified our standing to the world, demonstrating that our economy remains strong and that investors trust Panama’s approach to financial recovery from the pandemic,” Mouynes wrote. “Our stability is also thanks in large part to our diversified economy, which is less exposed to macroeconomic shocks than other economies in the region and ready to take on the challenges of a 21st-century economy.”

While most stories about Panama’s economy start with the Canal, Mouynes focused on Panama’s growth as a “digital hub.” She noted Panama’s “robust digital infrastructure,” which allows Panama to offer secure “unlimited bandwidth” to businesses and academia. It is one reason, Panama has “become a destination of choice for global telecommunication companies and data centers,” she writes. “Today, Panama is the link to 100% of regional internet traffic, 90% of international voice traffic, and over 90% data transmission.”

 Mouynes brings strong ties to the United States and international trade to her new post. She has a Master in Corporate Law from New York University and a Master in International Law from the University of California, Berkeley. She also obtained a postgraduate degree in Business and Finance from the University of New York as a Fullbright Fellow, according to her official bio. In her law career, she worked in Panama and New York, including for more than a decade “structuring infrastructure projects with multilateral agencies and in complex investment negotiations in European and Latin American financial markets.” 

In noting Panama’s global strength as a logistics hub, Mouynes highlighted Panama’s performance during the pandemic in keeping trade routes open. “Amid the crisis, we remained committed to ensuring international supply chains for critical resources such as food and medicines were uninterrupted,’ She wrote. “Our ports and airports were open to international traffic, never ceasing to connect the 144 maritime routes and over 1,700 ports that depend on the Panama Canal.”